Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Taking the "Wizard" Out Of "Triwizard"

Back in April I commented on the inexplicable phenomenon of Muggle Quidditch, in which players run around a field with brooms that can't actually fly clutched tightly between their legs. At the time, it seemed to me that this was a case of Harry Potter mania gone too far. The whole idea is ridiculous. I mean, what's the point of trying to fly on a non-flying broom? Recently a similar idea showed up at Valdosta State University in Georgia - a "Triwizard Tournament" that involved no wizardry whatsoever.

Reade Hall is divided into four sub-hallways, two for each gender. This year, the Resident Assistants of Reade have adopted a Harry Potter theme for the entire residence hall. Each smaller hallway within Reade is decorated to reflect one of the four Hogwarts Houses: Gryffindor for the upstairs girls’ hall, Ravenclaw for the upstairs boys, Hufflepuff for the downstairs boys, and Slytherin for the downstairs girls.

As an icebreaker activity to start the school year, the Reade RA’s put together a competitive event this past Sunday which they nicknamed the “Triwizard Tournament.” Though the name is not necessarily accurate, the residents of Reade undertook a series of field-day style events, competing for points toward their respective Houses. These events included a broomstick race, an orange-passing relay, and a game of Dragon Tag among other games.

“My favorite game was ‘Gorilla, Man, Gun’,” said sophomore Engineering major Sarah McGrew, “-because I won serious House Points for Slytherin!”

Wow, that all sounds so magical - NOT. It sounds more like elementary school physical education. Now I do know that real magical contests, like trying to see who can produce the best evocation manifestation, or shift a quantum diode the most, or most effectively divine some unknown piece of information using the Tarot probably seem pretty boring to kids used to fantasy-novel spellcasting. Nonetheless, I keep holding out hope that one of these days a Harry Potter-inspired event will come along that involves something other than silliness.

So far that's turned out to be a real recipe for disappointment.

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2 comments:

Simon Tomasi said...

Contrary to voices that say "Harry Potter promotes interest in the occult", I believe that it actually takes a serious topic and reduces it to absurdity. Magic is tamed in stories like these, it's become as easy and predictable to use as switching on a light and as magical as using a microwave oven.

Which brings me on to my suggestions for a better idea for a wizard tournament... Why not have each wizard/witch/sorcerer/conjurer/etc blogger pick a side in a competition such as a sports league and see if they can make their team win? Greater kudos goes to the one who can effect the biggest transformation in team fortunes.

Ananael Qaa said...

I would say that Harry Potter promotes interest in fantasy-novel occultism, but as we all know that has little to do with the real thing and has great potential for silliness. Since I take an approach to magick that's as scientific as I can make it I don't have a problem with making magick easier or more reliable, but I do agree that the ease of use portrayed in the HP universe is absurd and completely unrealistic.

Personally I'd rather cast against known probabilities and review the results over a large sample size than try to draw conclusions from something as nebulous as influencing sporting events. But if there are magicians out there who want try it, I'd certainly be interested in seeing their procedures and more importantly their experimental data.